Sunday, July 31, 2011

Early Steps

I said a while ago I would try and post the video that my dad took of some of Madelyn's first steps.  In the weeks that have gone by since this video was taken Madelyn has considerably increased her balance and stability, and I have no doubt that she will be running soon.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Learning to be Gentle

We have been focusing a lot with Madelyn on the concept of "gentle," particularly as she has become more and more mobile.  It is a very difficult concept for her, which I understand, but I don't think my current techniques are effective.

She definitely isn't malicious in her intent, but she grabs noses, hair, ears, etc.  The biggest concern we have is with other kids, since we can remind her to be gentle with adults and for the most part can fend for ourselves.  For instance, today she was playing with another kid around her age and after hugging him she pushed him down.

The second biggest concern we have is that she be gentle with animals, and in particular with our dog.  Aubrey is a 7.5 pound long haired miniature dachshund and while she is definitely capable of running and hiding from Madelyn, we also want them to be friends.  However, recently she has become very aggressive with Aubrey - pulling her hair, grabbing at her, poking her face.  Asking Madelyn to be gentle does not seem to phase her anymore.  Aubrey, although often keeping at least a few feet of distance between herself and Madelyn, also wants to be near "her baby."

So, I am looking for ideas.  If anyone has any good ideas on teaching a 16 month old to be gentle, please let me know!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Ok...Rapunzel is an exaggeration.  Madelyn's hair is not that long.  However, she was born with long hair (for a newborn) and it has just kept on growing.  By 7 months old it was not difficult to put her hair in pigtails.

It's been a lot of fun to play with Madelyn's hair, although now at 16 months old she is slightly less inclined to sit still for me to put pigtails in her hair than she was before she was walking.

It's funny the things that Madelyn picks up on.  For instance, recently when Madelyn was asked if we should comb her hair she went and found her bottle of detangler spray.  I would not have guessed that she would have made that association, but since we have been using the spray for more than half of her life almost every time we comb her hair, it makes sense.

Barrettes are great when they work.  I really like the barrettes I have found at Petite Peppermint. Unlike many baby hair accessories these are actually designed to be functional.  Now, when Madelyn's hair is in her eyes, she will try to find a barrette and either hand it to someone to put in her hair or try to do it herself.  Of course, she is also now dexterous enough to take the barrettes out of her hair too, but most of the time she leaves them alone.

Here she is sporting the side barrette look (the one she is almost always wearing).

Someday I think I will be able to put her hair in pigtails again, but for now this is pretty much the look we are going with.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Favorite Summertime Dessert

Like many others, I have a go-to cookbook - it is just that mine is a cookbook of decadent desserts.  It might be better for my health if my go-to cookbook was "Healthy Meals in Under 30 minutes," but I love the recipes in Nigella Lawson's "How to Be a Domestic Goddess."  I have not had a bad dessert from this book. 
Tonight I made Strawberry Shortcakes, which is one of my favorite summertime desserts, and so I am sharing the recipe.

For the Shortcakes:
2 cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
5 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, frozen
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup light cream (or half and half)
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

baking sheet - greased or lined with parchment paper
2 1/2 inch round cutter

Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, and 3 Tbsp of the sugar in a bowl.  Grate the butter into these dry ingredients and use your fingers to finish crumbling the butter into the flour.  Whisk the egg into the cream, and then pour it into the flour mixture a little at a time and mixing as you go.  Add the eggy cream until the dough comes together.

Gently roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is about 3/4 of an inch thick.  Cut out rounds - you should end up with 8 in all.  You will need to cut some out, then put the dough back together and roll it out again.  Place the shortcakes on the cookie sheet about an inch apart, then brush the tops with egg white and sprinkle with the remaining 2 Tbsp of sugar.   These can be refrigerated for up to 2 hours.

These bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes (until the tops are golden brown).  You will want to let them cook for 10-15 minutes before you put the toppings on them.

For the filling:
16 - 20 oz of Strawberries
2 Tbsp sugar
A few drops of balsamic vinegar
1 - 2 cups of heavy cream (I like a lot of whipped cream on my dessert)

Take about 1/3 of the strawberries, remove the tops, and then crush with 1 Tbsp sugar and balsamic vinegar.  I use a potato masher, but a fork works as well.  Quarter the rest of the strawberries and then mix with the crushed strawberries.  Whip the heavy cream with the remaining sugar.

To put it all together:
Halve the shortcakes.  Put strawberry filling on the bottom, add whipped cream, and then put the top back on.  These are best when served still warm.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Baby Book Guilt

I think that a baby book is a good idea.  In fact, right after Madelyn was born, in a fit of "have to be a perfect mom" anxiety, I was horrified to realize that I had not gotten a baby book to keep track of all of all of those things important milestones that seem to fly by.  Of course I rushed right out to pick one up, only to be overwhelmed by the enormous selection of choices.  Finally I settled on one, mostly because I liked the picture on the front.  Once I got home the guilt started.  There was a whole section I was supposed to fill out BEFORE she was born...already my book was doomed to be less then perfect.  Also, we were supposed to have the hospital staff put the footprints and handprints right in the book.  Sigh...I was determined to not let that ruin my book and I knew that I was absolutely going to keep track of things from there on out.

What I forgot to take into consideration was reality.

Over the last 15 months I have come to the conclusion that the true purpose of the baby book is to make me feel guilty for not keeping track of things that I should have.  The big things were easier to remember to put in the book, like the first time Madelyn tried solid foods.
But, when I went to record this momentous occasion in the baby book what did I find?  Not only was I supposed to record the story of Madelyn's first solid foods, but also her first finger foods, the first time she used a spoon, the first time she used a cup, foods she loves, food she hates, her favorite dishes, games we play at get the idea.

Of course, there were some important things that this baby book forgot to include - such as the first time that Madelyn's hair actually laid down flat.  I added that one in since it seemed like a pretty big deal.  After all, she seems to have inherited Justin's hair which he likes to describe as gravity-defying in it's efforts to get as far away from his head as possible.

The problem is that I wish that I had recorded all of the things in the book - as ridiculous as some of them are, because I like things to be complete and I don't like there to be blank spaces.  Thus - baby book guilt.

I console myself with the fact that most of the important firsts we got on camera.  Here are a few of them.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

15 Months Old!

Tonight I was watching a video that my dad took of our family Christmas gift opening which was Madelyn's first time opening gifts.  Even though that was only 7 months ago, she has changed dramatically since then.  In the video she was sitting and scooting forward a little bit, but she wasn't crawling yet.  In the video she was still very much a baby.  Now, a short 7 months later she is pretty much a little toddler.   I am going to work on getting posted a video that my dad took a week and half ago of Madelyn walking.  It is funny to watch her trying to figure out what she is doing!

Last week we had Madelyn's 15 month check up (a few weeks late, I know).  She is generally healthy, and on track in her development.  She is now 31 inches tall which means she grew an 1 1/4 inches since her 12 month check up, and is still in between the 50th-75th percentile for her height.  She only gained a little over a pound and is now 21lbs and 3 oz, and is now in the 10th-25th percentile for her weight.

In the last few weeks we have gone through a bunch of changes with Madelyn.  A few weeks ago, after a month or two of us trying to get Madelyn to take some steps on her own, she was playing in the middle of the floor, looked at Justin, stood up and then walked over to him like it wasn't a big deal.  My mom was about to head out for the day, and she and I just looked at each other like "did we just see what we thought we did?!" Since that day Madelyn has been working on increasing her proficiency with walking and it is now usually her preferred method for getting from one place to another.

She has also been working more on her verbal communication skills, although she often still reverts to "ahh, ahh, ahh" and pointing at something to try to communicate what she wants.  However, she is frequently telling us when she is "all done," although sometimes we don't agree with her.  She is also asking for "more" and almost always means it.  She still calls most things and people "ba" including Justin and I, but we do sometimes get a "Mama" or "Dada."  Her favorite things to say are "whoa," "wow," and "uh-oh."  She is also making attempts to say words like "please" when we ask her to try.  We are having a lot of fun learning to interpret and talk with Madelyn :)

Madelyn loves music and all things musical, she also likes to play with her stuffed animals and her little people zoo animals, and she loves to play in the water.  It doesn't matter if the water is at the neighborhood wading pool, at the beach,  in the bathtub, or in Aubrey's water dish, Madelyn is always excited to get as wet as she can and get whoever is near her as wet as possible in the process.

Recently we took Madelyn to an outdoor concert of the Minneapolis Pops and she thought they could benefit from her conducting :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Placidly Down the Liquid Solution

Everyone grows up learning traditional children's songs like Ba Ba Black Sheep (a favorite of our daughter's), The Itsy Bitsy Spider, and Row, Row, Row Your Boat.  Until I met my husband, although I had heard some variations on these songs (such as the "throw your teacher overboard" version of Row, Row, Row Your Boat), I had never heard the version of Row, Row, Row Your Boat that he grew up with.  It goes like this:

Propel, propel, propel your craft
Placidly down the liquid solution
Contently, contently, contently, contently
Existence is but an illusion

Madelyn loves music, she giggles, dances, and waves her arms like a conductor any time there is music being played.  However, there is a special place in her heart for this song.  She requests it by name frequently ("row, row, row?") and gets a special smile on her face every time her daddy sings her his version of the song.

Gently down the stream or placidly down the liquid solution, we are enjoying the journey of parenthood.  How could we not?